Art lovers, rejoice: the Google Art Project was launched in London this morning, bringing seminal works from Germany, Russia, New York, and 14 other locations online. The interactive street-view-style interface makes even hairline cracks visible. New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art are among the participating galleries.
"Far from eliminating the necessity of seeing artworks in person, Art Project deepens our desire to go in search of the real thing," said Julian Raby, director of the Smithsonian's Freer Gallery of Art, in a statement.
In a way, the move also democratizes art collecting--no longer does one need to purchase expensive art to show off esoteric knowledge of the art world. Part of the new site's tagline reads: "Create and share your own collection of masterpieces." Viewers can do all that without all the fuss over where to put their multi-million-dollar investments.
Among other benefits, the Google Art Project offers a walk-through opportunity in each gallery, extensive zooming capabilities, and a centralized place for some of the world's top collections, rather than asking viewers to go to each individual museum's website to view and interact with the art.
The image quality is 7 billion pixels per image, which, as the project's leader, Amit Sood, notes is "a thousand times more than the average digital camera."